Paul Manafort makes a plea agreement in the case in Washington D.C. federal court

Prettyman_courthouse_washington_dc

By Robert Willmann

Update:  It turns out that a factual basis/statement of the offense was put in writing and filed.  The waiver of an indictment and consent to proceed on the previously filed charging document (the "information"), the factual basis, and the plea agreement are here–

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/paul_manafort_waiver_of_indictment.pdf

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/paul_manafort_statement_of_offense.pdf

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/paul_manafort_plea_agreement.pdf

A joint status report by the government and Manafort is to be made by 16 November. 

Some aspects of this case, such as the property forfeiture provisions and the extreme leverage possessed by the prosecution, grew out of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (an appropriate match to George Orwell's book, "1984").  It was in Public Law 98-473, having been inserted into a continuing appropriations bill for fiscal year 1985.  That atrocious law was very controversial, but was pushed through Congress.  It is quite a story in itself.

P.S.–I do not know who the two people are the statues represent in the photo above, which is the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington.

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Scheduled to start today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time in a federal district court in Washington, D.C. is a hearing at which president Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort is going to announce a plea agreement with the "special counsel" Robert Mueller's group.  Two criminal cases were filed against Manafort — one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Arlington, Virginia.  A trial concluded not long ago in the case in Virginia.  The D.C. court clerk's docket sheet says–

"09/14/2018 Set/Reset Hearings as to PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR (1): The continuation of the Pretrial Conference presently set for 9/14/2018 at 11:00 AM is converted to an Arraignment and Plea Agreement Hearing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. (jth) (Entered: 09/14/2018)".

A 38-page "superseding criminal information" was filed against Manafort today, which is a charging document filed by agreement, as was done in former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's case in New York City.  If the document charging a felony is not filed by agreement, it is called an indictment.  Some exhibits were filed as well, and here are both items from earlier today–

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/paul_manafort_charging_document.pdf

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/paul_manafort_exhibits_to_charging_doc.pdf

We will see whether they will try to slip the "factual basis" for the plea through orally in open court rather than putting it in writing as is usually done.  If they seek to do it orally, then the public has to get a transcript of the hearing from the court reporter to see what the factual basis (or "statement of the offense") says and how sufficient or sketchy it looks.

 

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